It was late July 2020 and Laura Bordeaux, a personal trainer and fitness professional based in Healdsburg, California, was on the hunt for CECs for her fitness career. Knowing that all in-person education events had been canceled, she registered for 2020 IDEA World Virtual to earn her credits. She had low expectations.

“I signed up anticipating disappointment in the lack of real human interaction,” she says. “I would miss seeing all the faces of friends, mentors, peers and presenters.” But Laura’s perspective quickly changed after she stepped into the new experience of a virtual event.

“I could not have been more pleasantly surprised!” she admits. “The offering of courses and seminars was just as comprehensive [as it was in person]; the all-star lineup was just as impressive; and the seamless production and management of running each presentation virtually was incredible to experience. Every session I attended directly affected my everyday operations—and life—as a fitness entrepreneur. It may have been virtual interaction, but I have never felt so connected to the industry.”

Based on that experience, Bordeaux will return to IDEA World Virtual this year, July 9–11, when the event will feature more than 100 workshops, lectures and workouts led by 100 innovative industry experts to help your fitness career thrive.

Top-Level Education for Your Fitness Career

IDEA World Virtual Session

IDEA World Virtual is where you’ll find best-in-class education and inspiration for your fitness career.

IDEA World Virtual comprises vast learning opportunities for all fitness professionals working in all settings. Whether you’re a personal trainer looking to get upskilled in the latest advancements in resistance training, a group fitness instructor trying to make a splash in the virtual space or a brick-and-mortar business owner seeking innovative profit centers, IDEA World Virtual is where you’ll find best-in-class education and inspiration.

Here are some of the topics you can expect to find this summer:

Tech Solutions for a Virtual World

Virtual training and teaching have raced to the forefront of how we serve clients and students. Once the pandemic was underway, learning about and adopting new technology wasn’t an “if” proposition; it was a “when.” And it’s likely that virtual training and teaching aren’t just temporary; they will remain important parts of the customer service package for good, says Darian Parker, PhD, co-owner of Epic Leisure Management and owner of Parker Personal Training LLC.

“While I don’t believe that digital fitness services will ultimately replace in-person fitness, there will be a strong connection to virtual platforms for fitness services and fitness work as long as technology continues to advance in our society,” he says. “This is a topic that all fitness pros should learn about, because it’s a relevant and quickly growing work opportunity for fitness professionals.”

During the session “Digital Technologies and the Implications for Virtual Fitness Work,” Parker will explain tech adoption patterns among consumers and help attendees assess which tools to use with clients.

Parker adds, “Attendees will be able to take their own personality test and see where they stand in terms of their willingness to pursue virtual fitness work as the technology continues to advance.”

See also: Tips on Teaching Virtual Fitness Classes

Strong Client Connections in Your Fitness Career

Humans have an unconscious inclination to assess others and make judgments about them based on stereotypes and previous experience. In fit pros, what if those judgments impede client and student success?

Tasha Edwards, MS, believes perspective can change everything, and if fit pros jump to conclusions about physical ability based on how a person looks, they risk losing their clients’ trust and limiting their success.

“How can we talk about ‘inclusivity’ when we automatically think someone will need modifications because of their size (i.e., we’re considering them to be unhealthy)?” she asks. “We are the leaders; we shouldn’t just be able to lead people who look like us or fit into our ideas of ‘fit people.’”

What prompted Edwards to offer her session, “Breaking Body Barriers,” was seeing the disparity in representation within the fitness world and noticing how some pros related to their clients and students.

At IDEA World Virtual, she will discuss ways to develop “more inclusive language, label less, identify when words/actions may be a trigger and [explore] how to make classes more about our students and less about us.”

The Role of Happiness in Client Success

Selecting appropriate exercises, correcting form, encouraging healthful habits—all are important skills for a fitness career. However, according to Shirley Archer, JD, MA, we must also address a person’s enjoyment if we’re to see return business.

“Boosting happiness during the training experience is a ‘soft skill’ that may not get a lot of attention but can make a powerful difference for improving client results in the long term and [increasing] client satisfaction in the short term,” she says.

It shouldn’t be left to chance, Archer explains. Whenever you are working to effect positive and lasting change, happiness needs to be cultivated as a primary focus. In her session, “Train Clients Happy for Better Retention and Results,” she will share the science behind “training happy” and offer simple yet effective techniques that fit pros can implement in any training session or group exercise class.

“Every session counts!” says Archer. “Let them remember that. What you do matters. And how you touch your clients’ lives has tremendous value. Allow the importance of that to soak in.”

See also: Training Happy for Positive Behavioral Change

2021 IDEA® World Virtual Registration Is Complimentary for All IDEAfit+ Members!

United We Thrive Panel Series

How people feel in your presence and in the spaces you create has a significant impact on adherence, loyalty and effort. In IDEA’s first-ever United We Thrive Panel Series, top experts will explore what fitness professionals can do to truly inspire everyone to fitness.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Race’s Place in Fitness

While not new topics, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) bubbled to the surface with fresh urgency in 2020 and have remained important subjects of discussion in fitness as businesses and pros work to understand how they can better serve all people through their fitness career. In this sure-to-be dynamic and eye-opening panel discussion, “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Race’s Place in Fitness,” fitness pros and DEI experts will share their experiences and consider the role fitness plays in social justice.

The panel’s moderator, Katrina Pilkington, wellness educator, writer and speaker, says, “In our business of fitness, there remains a need to better understand the disparities that impact our members. In this panel, we will target areas of discussion around acts of exclusion (aka micro-aggressions), equity in the fitness space, health disparities for our Black population and mental health considerations, [and we’ll have an] overall discussion about experiences that Black fitness professionals have had and how we can move the needle to a progressive place of change.”

The Role of Body Positivity in Your Fitness Career

Fitness and wellness professionals choose this industry with a sole purpose: to help others. One way to do this is to make sure everyone feels welcome and everyone belongs in spaces that are sometimes perceived as being available only to those who fit a specific, idealized body image. In the panel “Creating Spaces for All Bodies,” experts in fitness, nutrition and mental health will dissect common missteps and what a pro can do in their fitness career to make fitness feel inclusive for everyone.

“It means creating spaces where all people of all ages, races, genders, sexual orientations, body shapes, and sizes and abilities feel welcome, safe, respected and represented—and where they have access to the information and tools they need to make informed choices to improve their health,” explains panelist Molly Galbraith, co-founder of Girls Gone Strong and author of Strong Women Lift Each Other Up (Harper Horizon 2021).

Addressing body image and the unconscious biases that come with it is vital for coaches, personal trainers, group fitness instructors and business owners, says Galbraith.


“Because all clients have bodies,” she says. “And their relationship with their bodies can deeply impact their overall health, their perception of what they’re capable of, their ability to adopt new health behaviors and many other factors that affect their results—which, in turn, impacts how satisfied they are working with their coach or trainer.”

See also: Weight Bias in the Health and Fitness Industry

IDEA World Virtual Exclusive Experiences

IDEA World Virtual

This virtual event will feature more than 100 workshops, lectures and workouts to help your fitness career thrive.

Education is the foundation of IDEA World Virtual, but you’ll want to be sure to make time for these IDEA-exclusive special events!

  • IDEA Awards Ceremony. Join us in celebrating this year’s IDEA Fitness Leader, Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor award recipients. The ceremony will also honor recipients of the IDEA Jack La Lanne Award and the IDEA Fitness Inspiration Award as they share their stories of triumph.
  • United We Thrive All-Star Workout. Let six of your favorite presenters take you through a challenging, pulse-pounding workout that will lift your spirits and keep them high!
  • IDEA World Virtual Fitness & Nutrition Expo Hall. Learn about your favorite brands’ latest offerings, connect with experts in face-to-face video meetings and snap up deep discounts on top products and services at this year’s expanded IDEA World Virtual Nutrition & Expo Hall.

For more information on innovating your fitness career, see